Thursday, February 28, 2013

Principles To Live By (my thoughts on Tightly Curly Method)


I have thoroughly enjoyed my foray into the Tightly Curly Method Challenge.  This challenge was 'sponsored' by the curly-haired beauty Farah of AuCurlsNaturelle.  I stumbled upon Farah's youtube channel when I was researching more into the Tightly Curly Method and for curlies who had tried this method. Her videos and website gave me such inspiration to try this method and to top it all off she was starting a Tightly Curly Challenge!!  This was right up my alley and sooooo on-time.  This link will take you to the original challenge.


One of the reasons I enjoyed this challenge is b/c
I love playing in my hair. I love experimenting and trying different things with it, actually learning my hair.  I don't play in it during the week too much b/c the more I play in it and fiddle with it the more I frizz it out so I try to leave it alone therefore 'wash' day is a fun day for me. I look forward to it and try to plan it on a day where I can enjoy the process and not be rushed or stressed out .  That's the day it is 'acceptable'  for me to be in the mirror and in my hair.  By 'acceptable' I mean that's the day/time that my kids and hubby aren't mumbling "there she goes in her hair again!"  Hey, I'm doin' me y'all and I"m lovin' it and I think my hair shows that IT'S lovin' the attention I give it also.  (They'd be saying a whole lot more if my hair was looking like a broke-down, dried-out mess. LOL!!!!  Ain't nobody got time for dat!!)  


While participating in this challenge in the last month or so I've come to the conclusion/realization that I'm not looking to follow a "method" or "person" for the sake of following a method or a person who has created a method.  I was/am looking for a "method" for the sake of a technique(s) that I could use in the care of my hair.  This has led me to focus more on the rudiments or basic/foundational PRINCIPLES that undergird this(or any) method and that are conducive to growing/maintaining healthy hair; PRINCIPLES or TOOLS presented in TC method that I can extract from my "tool box"  and use at any given point and time to create any desired effect in caring for/styling my hair day to day, week to week, month to month, etc.  It's the same with a hammer, nut, bolt, screw, nail, drill.  These construction tools that are in your toolbox are there so you can use them when you need them but you have to know how to use each of them and what situation needs which tool in order to be effective at building whatever you are trying to build.

Referencing Farah again, I was struck by a statement she made in her latest video.  She said something to this effect.  "TC method is more than just coiling your hair.  It's a way of TREATING your hair...."(click here for exact quote).  This statement resonated within me because this is what I had been looking for: a way to treat my hair that addressed the goals that I wanted to meet in the care of my hair rather than just blindly "doing a method".

The TC method has given/shown me some techniques that have been very effective on my hair.  My hair has responded wonderfully to what I have learned from this method and I don't believe this works for just MY hair(type).  If one is willing to invest the time, I feel the principles in this method will be a benefit (definitely NOT harmful) to any and all hair types.  I do realize that what works for one person's hair may not work for the next person's hair but I think that's relegated to products we choose to use and how we use them.


 I feel that:
  • ALL hair benefits from moisture.  
  • ALL hair benefits from the right conditioner/product and the right application of the product for THAT particular hair type.  (Right might mean a silicone-based conditioner for one person and a silicone-free conditioner for another person.)
  • ALL hair benefits from a consistent healthy regimen.  
  • ALL hair benefits from efforts to retain length
  • ALL hair benefits from techniques and products that reinforce/strengthen it's own natural state.  
  • ALL hair benefits from being handled gently.  
  • ALL hair benefits from efforts to protect the ends. 
I feel TC method addressess all these bulleted points but it does require an investment of time and  the time it takes will decrease as your hair becomes accustomed to these techniques and you become accustomed to the technique.

Many of strategies put forth in the TC method are basic natural haircare methods for afro-textured hair.  You can read up on them in detail from the TC website(www.tightlycurly.com) and I highly recommend Teri Laflesh's book, Curly Like Me for more info. on styling, caring for children's hair, what to look for in conditioners/products, etc.  I was already using some of these strategies like conditioner-washing, detangling gently(I use my fingers 99% of time),  leaving rinse-out conditioner in my hair(I use silicone-free conditioners), detangling with conditioner-soaked hair, etc.  so I didn't have to start from 'scratch'.

The following are the strategies/principles that were new to me and this challenge was the first time I've used these: 
  • using a rinsing conditioner(to detangle) AND a different combing conditioner(a heavier leave in conditioner)
  • smooth conditioner on in sections 
  • smooth/define(doodle) and separate each curl ***  this one was a biggie for me and the least attractive aspect due to the time it takes me to do my whole head BUT I feel it is one of the MOST important things that has contributed to the excellent results I've gotten.
  • focus on protecting hair at night

What I was mainly looking for in researching this method was a nighttime routine/morning refresh  for short hair which didn't result in frizzy hair and one in which I didn't have to wet my hair everyday.   These are the benchmarks that I came up with to see if this would be beneficial and worth the effort of participating in this challenge.

  1. Does this provide  an effective nighttime routine for short hair that would eliminate frizz?
  2. Does this provide and effective way to refresh short hair in morning with no frizzies? -  I really was looking for a way to refresh my hair without wetting it in the wintertime and although I do spritz my hair with this method I can use more conditioner than water therefore doesn't take long to dry.
  3. Learn the TC Method -    Is this something I can physically do?  Researching and studying and implementing the TC Method presented a welcome challenge to me.  I thoroughly enjoy learning and meeting/supporting other naturals, especially those who learning this same method.
  4. See if this method works for my hair
  5. See if the method improves the overall health of my hair
  6. Am I able to stick with this method?


Goal #1 & #2.  Yes, the principles in the TC method provide an  effective nighttime routine for short hair that eliminates frizz. Because each curl is coated in conditioner from near the root to the ends of the hair, my hair is more protected from weather and even nighttime wear and tear.  It is suggested in this method to braid/twist the hair at night but I didn't do that.  Because my hair is still short I found that to be protection enough and my curls were preserved inside of the smashed 'bedhead' that occurs during the night.   During the week I did have areas that began to get frizzy.  The remedy for that is to smooth each frizzy curl with a bit of water and conditioner.  So, the frizz that I did experience I learned a new way of taking care of/eliminate it and to refresh my hair/style for the day with minimal water/wetting.  Another item of note:  I just love and want to wear my hair in it's curly state so I do very little manipulation during the week.  I don't twist or band or braid.   I don't re-twist at night...I used to just put on my satin wrap and go to bed.   I did not have a lot of hair breakage or an abnormal amount of shedding either.  I am convinced that a low manipulation regimen contributes to length retention.  Now that my hair is longer I think the time has come for me to begin to put my hair in loose twists at night, at least in some sections of my hair.

Goal #3.  Yes, I was able to learn these techniques and apply them in my haircare regimen.  The website www.tightlycurly.com was a major resource for me and is one place where I learned how to fully define my curls.    Looking at Farah's results also gave me a real-life visual of what my  hair 'could' be...not that I was trying to get my curl pattern like hers but I wanted healthy, gorgeous curls like her and I did achieve that.  I achieved healthy gorgeous curls that reflected MY natural curl pattern,  MY texture with MY volume/density.  Also, learning from other curlies like Farah made this process more real to me b/c she was the first person that I found that utilized this method on short hair like mine.   Like I mentioned previously, defining and separating each curl can be a very time-consuming process but the result is a head full of curls that are healthy, defined, well-conditioned and protected along the full strand of hair.   This results in hair that is fully moisturized the resists breaking thereby able to grow to it's length potential.

Goal #4.  Yes, this worked for my hair.  My curls were defined with excellent hold, shiny, soft,  healthy, durable and looked good.  My hair continued to be healthy and my curls seemed to begin to coil on their own without me having to doodle/coil each curl as carefully as I did at first so this method reinforces your own particular individual naturally curly state. It does not work against your natural curl pattern but works with it, reinforcing and strengthening that curly state resulting in more defined curls.  This method allows your hair to curl like it wants to, the way it is genetically meant to curl while being fully moisturized and conditioned.  Also, my hair seems to have a had a sudden growth spurt in the last week.  When I washed my hair this week and ran the water over my hair I felt hair laying on the back of my neck and over my ears  and hanging/flopping in my face for the first time since I've been natural.  My hair seems to be thriving under these techniques.

Goal #5.  I would say yes it improved the overall health of my hair b/c I've never had this much growth in 1.5 months as long as I've been natural as I've had doing this method.

Goal #6.  Yes, I can stick with this method (and/or even a modified version of this method...see book Curly Like Me for simplified version).  Even if  there are some weeks I don't do the 'full' method I've learned plenty of strategies I can use to get and keep my hair/curls looking like I like them to.  In an effort to try to decrease the time I spend on defining/separating curls I've tried experimenting with using a modified method of defining, separating curls.  After washing/conditioning/detangling my hair I would smooth and rake conditioner on all my hair in small sections to make sure to cover every strand and then give a good shake.  Then once hair is completely dry then go back and more fully 'spot-define' any individual curl that didn't get fully defined and/or more fully 'spot-separate' any larger clump of curls that didn't separate all the way.  That's my modified version and actually I guess I could label my HOTD dated Feb. 26, 2013 post as my modified TC method b/c that is what I did to achieve the look in that post.  While I changed the order and the sequence in which I moved through the steps of TC I still adhered to the principles of the method.  I was of the initial thought that I would not do TC on that week but looking back now I believe I have still done TC.  I just tweeked it for my needs.


When I first became natural I started out following the Curly Girl Method, sho' nuff.  At that time in my natural hair journey I was following a method that a person came up with.  I was so new to being natural I felt like I needed someone to take me by the hand and show/tell me step by step what to do.  After being natural now for 9 mos. and having learned much about my hair I feel that I don't need that much hand holding anymore.  I'm beginning to step out and have my own ideas about what I want to do with my hair and what to use on it.  I'm seeing what my hair responds well to and what it does and does not like.  My hair does NOT like regular Tresemme silicone-laden conditioner...can you say "feel like brittle straw"!!  My hair does like/love/need Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture 

silicone-free conditioner.  My hair likes the techniques used in the TC method.  My hair also likes the products I've been using and how I've been using them in this method. I will continue to do/use what my hair likes, whether or not I can classify what I do as someone else's  "method" or not; it will be MY method; so long as my hair likes it.  So needless to say the techniques/strategies/principles used in TC method of haircare are in my life to stay.  This is not just a part of my regimen it will BE my regimen.  It will BE the way in which I care for and treat my hair while it's in it's naturally curly state.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This week's HOTD and TC journey

I think that I am done with the Tightly Curly Method Challenge that I was on.  I was suppose to go three months with the challenge but it didn't take long for my hair to take to this method and it didn't take long for me to learn this method and apply it to my hair and it didn't take me long to become convinced that TC method is for me!!!   So I think my goals were met and in a later post I will give my summations on what I think about this method.    Special shoutout goes to Farah at www.aucurlsnaturelle.net for creating this challenge and inspiring me to experiment with different techniques and methods in learning/caring for my hair.

I was overdue for a cleanse and condition.  I try to do it every week.  I should have done my hair this past Friday or Saturday but I just didn't feel like it.  My hair was presentable and decent to go out.  My curls were intact, very shrunken/tight to my head and frizzy.  They were frizzy b/c I kept playing in my hair.  I normally try to prevent frizz b/c I don't like nor want frizzy hair BUT this past week, I didn't care!!!  Isn't it nice to just not care about being so nit picky about every strand of hair being in it's proper place???  It is just sooooo nice sometimes to just let your hair "do what it do" and "be what it be" and be completely satisfied with it!!!!  I absolutely LOOOVVVVEEEEEE the versatility of natural hair!!!!

If I feel like more body and some frizz, I can rock it!!!
If I feel like more defined curls, I can rock it!!!!
If I want to wear twists/twistouts, I can rock it!!!!!
If I just want to 'fluff' with my fingers one or two times before running out the door, I can do that and look just fine - curl or no curl, frizz or no frizz....

... LOVE IT!!!!!


I started this process in the late afternoon b/c I wanted to do a "winter"(overnight) wash and go and let my leave-in penetrate my hair and condition curls throughout the night.

1.  Condition/Wash/Condition -  I thoroughly wet my hair and applied Suave Naturals Coconut Conditioner to all of my hair until my hair was coated.  I then put a small bit of shampoo on my fingertips only and shampooed and massaged my scalp only, ONCE.  I rinsed my hair completely.  I then applied my deep conditioner(various conditioners and deep conditioner mixed with olive oil and stirred until smooth and creamy) and sat under  the heating cap for 30 minutes.

2.  I rinsed the deep conditioner from my hair and applied Tresemme Naturals as my moisturizing conditioner and let it sit.  Once my hair began to soften I sectioned my hair and began to smooth and rake and detangle.  I did not rinse all the conditioner out of my hair.  I rinsed most of it out but wanted to leave some in.  I shook my hair so the curls would clump and separate.

3. I then applied my leave-in conditioner(Tresemme+Tigi+SheaMoisture Restorative....this is the second time I'm using this combination and I'm loving it!!  I added the SheaMoisture b/c I think it adds more weight to my conditioner and my hair rather than just jojoba oil).  After applying my leave-in to all of my hair I took medium sections of hair and did a more intense smooth/rake/detangle on each section and twisted each conditioned section.  I had about 20-25 twists all over my head..similar to this.

 I let my twists  air dry until about 1 hour before bed....yes my hair was still very wet with conditioner...not dripping with water but heavy and wet with conditioner.  I then put on a plastic cap and tied it all up with my satin wrap and went to bed.

4.  This morning my hair was still wet with conditioner and sooooffffftttttttt with all that conditioner able to soak into my hair overnight.  I did not let my hair dry in twists b/c my goal was not to do a twistout but a wash and go elongated by twists.  I took each twist apart and separated the curls that had clumped.  I even did some light smoothing and raking in areas where my hair had begun to dry in order to get the frizz out and bring back the curl, especially on some of my ends.  After taking out all twists and separating my conditioned curls I gave it a good shake back and forth, up and down.  I let my curls air dry across the day.  I did initially sit under the hooded dryer until my scalp felt dry and then air-dried the rest of the day.  This is the result.

I absolutely LOVE the fullness that I have with this method/look.  I find the TC method gives me VERY defined curls(which I love) but not much length.  I have a lot of shrinkage with the TC method which is okay when I'm in the mood for a really defined look.  But sometimes I like to have more fullness with minimal frizz.  This is what I have with this hotd!!

I also LOVE how I do have a little more 'length' with this method of letting my hair dry a bit in twists which I believe gave me some elongation.

As my hair dried I could see some curls /areas that were frizzy at the ends or were too thick and curls had not separated.  I just smoothed those few curls with a little water and condish, separated the curls and  twirled around my finger if needed.

Loving my hair!!!!!

TC Challenge Week 6 Curl Love!!!!

Here are some pics of last weeks TC method application....

I am soooooooooooooo lovin' my curls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have no desires to straighten my hair.  It may come in time but as of right now I am sooooooooooooooooooooo lovin' my curls!!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

TC Challenge Week 5 - TC Method twistout on old wash and go

I made it to day 6 and did my hair yesterday.  I've had a hankering to do some twists but I didn't want to lose or disrupt the curl pattern/separation that I already had and my hair really was not dirty so I didn't feel the need to do my entire regular wash/rinse, deep condition, curl separation/defining, etc.  I had just finished my cardio workout and also wanted to rinse the sweat from my scalp.  I also like to stretch/elongate my curls from time to time and this does the trick.  

So I separated my existing curls into sections and spritzed each section with water and smoothed some conditioner(Tresemme Naturals) on each section.  I did not rake my fingers through, just smoothed the water/conditioner on the section just to moisturized/condition my hair.  Again, I didn't want to completely change/lose/disrupt the curls I had so I bantu-twisted each section (NOT 2 strand twist but twists like a bantu knot twist) into a bun and put a goody band holder on each section. 

I experimented with 2 sections by just banding them straight.   I do prefer keeping my hair in buns rather than straight bands .... less manipulation on the hair.

I got in the shower, wet my hair and massaged my scalp gently within each section, while keeping each section intact. I didn't use any product, just rinsed with water (and the conditioner I applied to spritzed hair when I sectioned).

After showering, I blotted my hair gently with a towel and then tied a t-shirt over my bunned/banded hair to get excess/most of the water off.  I wanted to work with damp hair and not dripping wet hair.
I squeezed my hair in the towel every so often over the course of about 10-15 minutes.  I took the towel off and I took each section, one at a time and made smaller 2-strand twists.  I didn't use a comb or denman, just my fingers to smooth my leave-in conditioner and to "part" my hair into smaller twistable sections.

Twists all done ..... I didn't time myself .... I just sat down with my kiddos and hubby and watched Animal Planet and National Geographic Programs.  I just kept twisting 'till I was done ....

I air dried for a while and then  sat under the hooded dryer for a time.  My hair was not completely dry but dry enough to go to bed.  I tied one of my long scarfs around my twists and went to bed with like that.

This morning I took the twists out and these are the results.....


I separated each twist several times.  The separation/curl clumping was already "pre-defined"  (from this past week)  b/c it wasn't disturbed during the wetting/twisting process...I only smoothed product on, not rake it.  I also massaged my scalp gently to give some volume to the style.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter Wash and Go

The question arises and continues to come up concerning how to maintain/do wash and gos in the winter.  I've read several articles on this subject b/c I too had the same question being a new natural several months old and entering into the fall/winter season.  I've watched videos of vloggers, some of whom said they cannot/will not do wash and gos in the winter so they do more protective styling and others who say they do wash and gos all year round with no problem.

I could not really fathom or "get with" the idea of wet/damp hair in the cold so as I approached the months of September and October I started doing twists and twist outs mid-week so I would not have to totally re-wet my hair again during the winter week.  Since I've started experimenting with the Tightly Curly Method I've been doing wash and gos for 4 weeks non-stop (and loving it, by the way!!).  First off, I've fallen in love with my curls, period and the end dot com!!!  I really like how well this method defines my curls and the hold it gives my hair.   This method also does not leave my hair dripping wet so it seems to take less time during the day to fully dry.  With the right nighttime and morning routine my style lasts the entire week so this method eliminates the need for me to totally rewet my hair mid-week.  My hair is still short so I don't do any banding at night or twisting therefore I don't have to close parts in the morning or manipulate my hair all that much in the morning.  Now on the 1 day a week that I do totally saturate and wet, cleanse and re-style my hair I start this process

1.  preferably on a day I do not have to go out of the house so my hair has all day to dry in the house with heat(sometimes a space heater in the room I'm in for extra heat) and/or
2. use my hood dryer if I do have to go out OR if my hair is not totally dry by bedtime I'll sit under the hood dryer to dry my hair completely.  If my hair has air-dried mostly all day by the time it's time for bed I only need to sit under the dryer for about 20 min.  The hood dryer is my mainstay during the winter months.

Another thing that works toward not having water in my hair everyday is on days that I don't go out, I will keep my hair in my nighttime wrap/silk bonnet all day long.  Even if I do take it off there are times I choose not to refresh with water spritz.  Since I do not work outside my home I there are days I can go all day with bedhead curls.  They plump out a little during the day if I don't refresh with water but my curls are set and have good hold.  Many times after my workout, the sweat that I do produce serves as some moisture to my curls and so does the steam from the shower.  Many days just the steam from the shower is sufficient for my curls to plump out so I don't have to spritz my hair.

I know that my situation may not be like many other naturals who have to go out everyday.  I am a stay at home mom so I do not have to go out everyday.  I realize others do, so I just wanted to share some tips that may help those who want to wear wash and gos in the cold weather b/c I feel it is possible with a little planning.

So here are my tips for how to wear and maintain and wash and go during the cold months.  

Daily Maintenance during the week:
  • If your job is indoors and conducive to this:  spritz your hair(if you need to) once you get to work.  That way you are in a heated building and not out in the elements and your hair and curls can be refreshed, dry and set again as you go about your workday.
  • If you have a job where you have to be out in the elements I would just keep my nighttime silk bonnet on under my hat and wear my hat and scarf and whatever else.  Showing your curls, in this instance. is not priority...keeping warm is.
  • Get up in enough time to spritz your hair/shower and have some time at home before you leave to let it dry...at least a little.  If you have time either diffuse or sit under hooded dryer before you leave the house AND/OR
  • Put the heat on high in your car on the way to work and if you have a decent driving distance your hair may be dry by the time you get there.  Me personally, I would only do this if my hair was almost dry.  I don't want to sit in a cold car with my scalp/head feeling wet.
  • If spritzing your hair is an issue, develop an effective nighttime/morning refresh routine to where your curls will last all week and also to where you will not have to spritz everyday.  Try letting the steam from the shower saturate your curls and if your hair is long enough then...shake...don't spritz.   If you have any frizzy spots you can do a spot touch-up with a little water and conditioner.  That way your whole head is not wet. 

Cleanse/Restyle Day(these were mentioned before)
  • Cleanse/restyle your hair preferably on a day you do not have to go out.
  • Start your cleanse/restyle day as early as possible to give your hair all day to dry
  • If you do have to go out, (or even if you don't) either diffuse your hair or sit under the hooded dryer. 
I feel that wearing wash and gos during the winter is a can-do situation and one in which you do not have to have wet hair all the time, depending on how you work it. These are just some tips that I wanted to share b/c some of these are the ones I use during my week and it works for me.....hopefully they will work for you too!  Wintertime wash and gos do take some extra effort in planning, consistency and diligence but I feel it can be done for those who want to do it.

Here are a couple of other resources that may contain additional tips and strategies that may be helpful on winter wash and gos.

Here is an article from NaturallyCurly.com and their tips on how to rock your wash and go during the winter months.

Here is a video from MahoganyCurls who has rocked her wash and go for several years(at the time of shooting this video).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

TC Challenge Week 4


I did my hair on Saturday last week.  I made it to Sunday this week.  Day 7 hair turned out to be a curly afro b/c all week long I kept messing with my hair and trying to style it after refreshing in the morning and as I've said before:  once I touch my damp hair it frizzes out...so my hair was frizzed out but it was okay...I think I was ready for a small change/another look.  Actually my hair frizzed out around day 3 and I had to spend more time than I wanted to re-define my curls.  Yet, I considered last week as a week to learn my hair and learn how to do different things with it in the mornings.  This week though, I'm going back to leaving it alone and just spritzing in the morning.  I had fun playing in my hair and trying different things.  I even tried a twist out on day 7.  I did not like how that turned out so I ended up misting my hair all over and bringing some curls back but since I didn't have time for my hair to dry before running out the door to my child's game I 2-strand twisted the hair  that framed my face and threw a hat on the back of my head.  It dried to a mushed mat. LOL!    I guess since I'm taking the time to blog about it I should have taken some pics...but I didn't.  Sorry...:-(  Anyway,  I love the versatility that I have with my natural hair.  I can rock curls, 2 strand twists and curly afro all in the same week and love them all even with the frizz and fullness!!!!

Okay so I did my hair on Sunday(today).

It took me 1 1/2 hours to define and separate my curls.  Although it took me the same amount of time last week it seemed to be easier and go quicker this week. 

water rinse

Deep Conditioner:  
Since I still have not gone out and bought my Lustrasilk Mayonnaise I decided to make my own.  I used a little bit of whatever I had sitting in my kitchen and bathroom.  I used mayonnaise, Lustrasilk Tea Tree cholesterol, Nubian Heritage Grow and Strengthen Masque, olive oil and SheaMoisture Curl and Style Milk.  I did not measure just took spoonfuls of one and then the other.  I sat under the heating cap 30 minutes.  I don't know what to say about how my hair felt.  It was not uber soft and smooth.  It was a little crinkly or even squeaky almost like I had used shampoo on my hair and it was kind of squeaky/crinkly/almost dried out clean.  The only thing I can think of is whatever protein was in my mixture must have been "almost too much" for my hair.  I remembered in my reading that a protein treament should be followed by a moisturizing conditioning treatment.  I decided to use and combine Tresemme with my other rinsing conditioners b/c I find that Tresemme brings my hair back to where it should be if I use something that makes my hair feel "out of the way".   It really is my all time favorite product.  My hair responds the same to it every time.  When I put my combination of  rinsing conditioners on, my hair softened right up and felt like it normally does...whew!  I did like my mayonnaise conditioner but I probably don't need to use all that other stuff I used.  I was trying to add other moisturizing agents in my mix in addition to the cholesterol and protein in the mayo but looks like I might have had too much protein. 

Combing Conditioner/Leave-In:   
This time I decided to leave out the aloe vera juice and I just mixed up my Tresemme and Tigi Bed Head and jojoba oil.  That was my leave-in.  My curls have a smoothness to them when I feel them and I think that the jojoba oil contributes to that.  I like it.

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